“How can my business be more productive?” is a hot question on the minds of leaders and managers today, especially in the translation industry. If you want your LSP company to grow in 2021 — gain more clients, handle more projects, and be a bit faster than last year — you’ll have to ensure your productivity levels are in check. So how can you and your current team get more work done without breaking a sweat — or the bank?
1. Assess your productivity level right now and where you want it to be
To start, being productive means being fully aware of your company’s operations and assessing the current project management productivity level to identify how far you are from your target. While analyzing the status quo, you’ll run into friction areas or bottlenecks that might be causing chaos in your workflow and output. The pain points holding you back could be caused by a technical issue or some individuals — a project manager may not be pulling their full weight.
Draw out a scheme of your present flow; start from the beginning when a client makes a request to the point of delivery, and see where there are lags. You can either take care of this sort of productivity audit in-house, or, if you don’t have the system in place to do it, use Smartcat’s Team Performance Intelligence reports. Once you’ve figured out what needs ironing out, we recommend re-assessing productivity quarterly to avoid new problems sprouting up.
2. Assemble all project activities in one spot: Multiple tabs be gone!
If you’ve had firsthand experience dealing with translation requests, deliveries, and feedback loops, then you know it takes a lot of juggling work. But matters get even worse when you have many communications streams like TMS, CAT, Slack, Skype, Gmail, Notion, Trello, Hangouts, etc. A Microsoft study shows that workers switch windows on average 373 times per day or circa every 40 seconds while completing their tasks.
This chaotic jumping around leads to things getting missed, and clients are often left disappointed. Besides, employees often burn out if pushed too hard to make do with inadequate tools. According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, over half of the 550 million working days lost annually in the U.S. from absenteeism are stress-related.
The ultimate time-saving (not to mention life-saving) alternative to this mess of channels to adopt a one-channel approach in an all-in-platform that ideally allows you to:
Automate project distribution to freelancers,
Agree on quotes,
Reduce the number of clicks and data entry,
Upload and download source texts,
Avoid spreadsheets, and
Easily control quality.
There are many options out there, such as Smartcat’s all-in-one Connected Translation platform. Before you settle for any, make sure you run a real-life demo. Try out the functions and features beforehand, so you’re not surprised later. Most importantly, write down a checklist of current needs and gaps, and go with the system that can fulfill them.
3. Automate incoming and outgoing payments
Language service providers need to embrace automation in 2021 even more. Using systems and programs to automatically process different operations is paramount to boosting productivity. Without it, it’s like you’re stuck in 2011 and not in 2021.
One of the key areas for automation is payments, both received and made. Paying your freelancers and other workers, accepting payments from companies — project managers and accountants need to be completely aligned and not miss the mark. It can get chaotic if numbers aren’t meticulously filed. Not only that, the actual act of payment can be a major headache without a good system.
Smartcat’s Payment Automation subsystem allows you to make payments to anywhere in the world, and you only have to make one transaction — the amounts owed to individual suppliers will be aggregated and included in one invoice. Once the invoice is settled, Smartcat will automatically distribute the amounts owed and let the suppliers withdraw them using their favorite payout methods. Similarly, you can accept payments from anywhere in the world, whether to withdraw later or to keep on your Smartcat balance to pay your own suppliers.
4. Hire the right talent and fast
You’ve managed to score a huge project, but you realize that your translators aren’t the right fit or that you don’t have enough of them. Do you stick with the ones you have and hope for the best or scramble to find the right fit by searching for one individually via multiple platforms? LSPs need to have a stable and dependable pool of translators to draw from, for whatever the topic.
With Smartcat, you have a marketplace with readily available freelancers even before taking on new tasks. And why stop at freelancer language professionals? If you need more helping hands for particularly important clients, you can outsource project managers to jump on board with your project — or even partner with other LSPs.
5. Get your machine translation gears in motion
Machine translation has many benefits; it speeds up the work for translators, independently translates large bodies of text, and offers tremendous savings. Some language service providers have even dropped their price per word by 30% by offering machine translation post-editing, a sure-fire way to land new clients.
Machine translation doesn’t have to be to the dismay of translators. Humans are still greatly needed to maintain quality, the right tone of voice, and other localization aspects. Depending on the translation, translators can whiz through machine translated texts and cover more ground than before. In Smartcat, you can implement machine translation as part of your workflow in a single click, with over a dozen engines available depending on the source and target languages, some of those are even free.
(Some MT words of wisdom: Set up guidelines for your translators to know just how much they need to change the MT result. Also, we advise notifying your clients that you use machine translation for your work, especially if you don’t involve humans.)
2021 productivity goals: more clients in less time
The ultimate goal, year after year, is to acquire, serve, and manage clients at the same time. But without auditing your productivity levels, reviewing them quarterly, and using technology and automation tools, you just won’t be able to handle it. Make 2021 great by streamlining your operations and embracing technology.
Try Smartcat’s all-in-one platform today to get ready for tomorrow.